By Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer Published Jan 28, 2009 at 8:34 AM

A bit of local history was unwittingly uncovered recently when a billboard was removed at 27th Street and Wisconsin Avenue, revealing the above ad for the now-razed Randolph Hotel, which occupied the southwest corner of 4th and Wisconsin from 1927 until 1985.

The Randolph Brothers hoteliers built the hotel, which boasted 12 floors containing 200 rooms, each with a bath.

An early postcard depicting the Randolph described is as "a new 12-story fireproof hotel, centrally located. Equipment most modern, exquisitely appointed lounges, Beauty Parlor, Barber Shop, Roanoke Room and Cafe. 200 Rooms-200 Baths. Randolph Bros. Hotel Co., Proprietors."

The hotel was razed in the mid-1980s (see reader Jeff Thomas' great photos of that event above, too) and many developments have been proposed for the site which has remained a surface parking lot. Also razed around the same time were the other structures on the northern half of the city block also bordered by Michigan Street and 5th Street.

Most recently, those buildings had been home to a wig shop, a Marc's Big Boy and the Starship rock and roll club.

Thanks to reader Mikhail Takach for the tip.

Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer

Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.

He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.

With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.

He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.

In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.

He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.